SALT LAKE CITY, April 4 (UPI) -- Testosterone therapy in men with low testosterone and coronary artery disease can lower the risk for strokes, heart attacks and death, according to researchers.
Increasing testosterone levels lowered the risk for adverse health events, researchers at Intermountain Medical Center found in a study presented April 3 at the American College of Cardiology's Annual Scientific Session.
There have been concerns about testosterone therapy increasing the risk for coronary events, including warnings added to labels about the increased risk, though the new study shows men with low levels were not at increased risk.
"Although this study indicates that hypo-androgenic men with coronary artery disease might actually be protected by testosterone replacement, this is an observational study that doesn't provide enough evidence to justify changing treatment recommendations," Dr. Brent Muhlestein, co-director of cardiovascular research at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute, in a press release. "It does, however, substantiate the need for a randomized clinical trial that can confirm or refute the results of this study."
For the study, the researchers recruited 755 male patients between the ages of 58 and 78, all of whom had severe coronary artery disease, and were treated with varied doses of either testosterone injections or gels, or a placebo.
Patients given a placebo were 80 percent more likely to have an adverse health event. After one year, 64 patients not treated with testosterone had events, while just 12 participants with moderate testosterone doses and nine with high doses had cardiovascular events. After three years, 125 non-testosterone patients had major cardiovascular events, compared to 38 medium-dose and 22 high-dose patients.
"The study shows that using testosterone replacement therapy to increase testosterone to normal levels in androgen-deficient men doesn't increase their risk of a serious heart attack or stroke," Muhlestein said. "That was the case even in the highest-risk men -- those with known pre-existing heart disease."